The youngest son of Village Voice co-founder Norman Mailer is calling on the executives of the company to preserve the legacy of the company that his father worked hard to build and, once and for all, pull the plug on the adult advertisements on backpage.com, the company’s online classifieds site.
Specifically, John Buffalo Mailer chastised the company for trying to offset the financial hardship facing print publications by selling advertisements that are being used to buy and sell children for sex. He joins a growing group of people who want backpage to shut down those ads, myself included.
Unlike other approaches, which have tried to tug at the moral conscience of the company’s executives, Mailer reminded them that his father co-founded Village Voice as a publication of the people, one that held the power-holders accountable for their actions. In a statement, he wrote:
“As my father’s son, knowing all of the hopes and dreams that went into the work of creating this particular paper, the Village Voice appears to have lost its way from the days when Dan Wolfe, Ed Fancher, and my father began it,” he wrote. “For the sake of the Village Voice brand and for the sake of the legacy of a great publication, take down the adult section of Backpage.com, before the Village Voice must answer for yet another child who is abused and exploited because you did not do enough to prevent it.”
So far, there’s been no reply – though that doesn’t shock me.
Village Voice executives have pretty much sold their souls to the devil for the sake of staying afloat. As Mailer notes, the legacy of the publication is being tarnished. And every time an executive speaks out to defend their actions, it’s another black-eye for the legacy of the Village Voice.
When I made my decision to pull personals ads from Geebo in 2010, I knew it would affect my bottom line – but I also knew that I wouldn’t be able to look at myself in the mirror every morning if I knew that there was a chance that an innocent child had been bought and sold for sex through an ad on my site.
I don’t know how the folks at Village Voice are able to do it – look at themselves in the mirror, that is.